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December 5 2020 5.36am

Gunners held after gutsy fightback

January 12 2020

Holmesdale protest although VAR did upgrade Gunners card to red?

Holmesdale protest although VAR did upgrade Gunners card to red?

Could below-strength CPFC avoid defeat for the fourth consecutive time? Yes, with a hard-fought 1-1 draw, Jamesey is happy to report.

Clubs with new managers often show a strong resurgence and that has been the case recently with north London visitors Arsenal.

With Mikel Arteta at the helm, the Gunners look a much better team so their visit to Selhurst (Jan 11) was awaited with a little anxiety by this supporter.

That anxiety was fully justified in the opening stages of the game when the Gunners tore into a shell-shocked home side who were hard put to even get a sniff of the ball before who else but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave his team the lead in the 12th minute.

The Eagles were very much on the ropes for the first half hour as they were opened up time after time by some excellent football, it has to be said.

Despite Roy Hodgsonís continued worries about an injury crisis, the line-up looked resilient enough, despite the absence of a handful of key first-team players.

The good news has been the emergence of Jairo Riedewald as a makeshift left full back. Like Aaron Wan-Bissaka before him, the young Dutchman has grabbed his chance eagerly and has improved with every game.

Jairo was outstanding in this meeting and put some of his team-mates to shame with his pace, tackles and accurate passing. He was brought in from Ajax by the much-maligned Frank de Boer. They donít produce many bummers there, so if nothing else, CPFC can thank Frank for that.

The Eagles were looking far better by half-time and at least had kept the score down to 1-0 after being threatened by far worse.

Hodgson doesnít seem like a hair-dryer practitioner at half-time, so possibly he ordered the provision of a large bucket of smelling salts. The second period was a very different story with the home side looking increasingly dangerous.

In less than 10 minutes a fortuitous deflection from a Jordan Ayew shot put Palace on level terms. Yes, it was a flukey kind of goal but nevertheless, it seems that Jordan has the true strikerís knack of being in the right place at the right time and getting a good slice of luck too.

The match continued as a much more entertaining spectacle for the home crowd and a big talking point concerning VAR once more was to dominate matters.

There were activists selling on-line anti-VAR T-shirts before the game and protest banners were displayed in the Holmesdale too.

After 67 minutes, Aubameyang appeared to stamp on Max Meyerís ankle and was yellow-carded. A VAR decision, however, upgraded the card to red for a dangerous and reckless foul and the Arsenal captain was off.

New loan acquisition, the Turkish/German striker Cenk Tosun came on for the injured Meyer but had too little time to make much of an impression.

There were narrow misses at both ends finally but Palace were unable to take advantage of 10-man Arsenal and, frankly after such an abysmal first half-hour when the home side could have been buried, this supporter was only too happy with a point with the Eagles maintaining their position in the top half of the Stacksomoulah League at 9th place, still one above Arsenal.

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